Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Games Day 21st of January Wings of War Report

 The New Year kicked off for me with a couple of games of Wings of War. It was the first time I’d played the game, although I’m a huge fan of air war games, so I was really looking forward to it.

The first game was a one-on-one fight against Giovanni. It proved to be very quick. I had a Fokker Dr1 and Giovanni had a SPAD (XIII). The SPAD got the first shot in, but fortunately didn’t do much damage. The Dr1 is not as fast as the SPAD, but is much more maneouvrable, so I was able to do an Immelman and come in for a return shot while he was still turning. The next move he turned away and I shot again, and this time I got a straight kill! First blood to the Baron! The whole thing lasted less than 10 minutes.

The second game was a two-on-two. I had the Dr1 again, and Akira san had an Albatross DV. Kirk took a SPAD and Derek had a Sopwith Camel. This proved to be a tense game, with lots of close range shooting as everybody piled into the dogfight. Derek managed to out maneouvre the Albatross, but ended up too close to shoot. I was able to get a shot in, and drew a straight kill on the card. Kirk suggested that for game purposes, we treated it as zero hits in order to make the game more fun. This was something we used to do this playing Blue Max at my old club in Nottingham, and it does make things more interesting. (I regard the kill as an unconfirmed claim.) Kirk then came in shooting at me, and put several bullet holes in the Dr1 (4 hits – ouch!). I broke and looped around to catch the SPAD, and got some close range bursts in which saw the SPAD become my second (confirmed) kill of the day. In the meantime, the Camel and the Albatross had separated after some tight maneouvres and a few shots. The Camel headed towards me, and caught the Dr1 with a nasty burst (3 hits). I started to wonder if I was going to make it out of the game alive. I broke again and thought about making a run for home, but now the Albatross was heading back into the fight and Derek had to face two enemy fighters. He proved a very difficult opponent. Outnumbered, he still fought heroically, and somehow managed to survive both the German planes’ shooting for a long time. It turned out later that we’d just been doing 1 point hits each time – it was incredibly frustrating shooting at him and seeing him still in the air. Finally, the Albatross managed to get just enough hits to send the Camel to the ground, so it was home for coffee, schnapps and sausages.

It was a great game. The rules are simple and easy to understand, and the game flows smoothly from the word go. I look forward to the next opportunity to go hunting!


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Games Day Report: January 21st, 2012

This Saturday saw the West Tokyo Wargamers hold its first games day of the year!  There was some D&D in the morning, and the afternoon saw a Napoleonics game using the Black Powder rules, as well as a Wings of War WW1 air combat game.  

I took part in the Napoleonics game, and here's the report.  Maybe Gareth can post on how the WW1 game went- I was too busy busy being thrashed by the British to see how that game was going!

Our Napoleonics game was a lot of fun, and saw some interesting swings in fortune for both sides during the course of the action.  Rod was the commander of the Allied forces (British, with one section of Russian Horse Artillery), with Giovanni as his 2nd in command.  This was Giovanni's first time to play Napoleonics.  Sada and I were the French.   

July, 1812, and the British are on the move in the campaign that will culminate in the Battle of Salamanca.  Unaware of the presence of the British, a French brigade is marching in column of route destined for Ciudad Rodrigo, as part of an attempt to recapture the fortress which was taken by the Allies earlier in the year.  

The journey takes them through the village of La Mononguela, where the French are looking forward to spending an evening of well-earned R&R after a hot and dusty march.   They are blissfully unaware that les Rosbifs, part of an advanced guard of Gen. Leith's 5th Division had already beaten them to it, and were waiting for them.  
The French had the 1/5e légère leading the column, with the 1/17 de ligne and a section of 6pdr artillery under the command of Gen. de Sade.  The remainder of the force brought up the rear, under the command of Général Victor-Eugène Bouillon-Cantinat, who was suffering from heat exhaustion that day (with a command rating of a lowly six- this was an attempt to balance out the force disparity for the game, but ended up giving the allies too much of an advantage as I think I managed to pass a total of three command rolls all day!) 

Not expecting any enemy forces in the area, and the local guerrilla forces having long since been pacified, the French have not felt it necessary to organize any proper reconnaissance parties.  Great, then, is the surprise and consternation of the officers and men of the Fifth, as in the distance appear the red coats of the 44th Foot (East Essex) Regiment, firmly placed across the road leading into La Mononguela!

But these gallant veterans of Wagram are used to the din and danger of combat, and gamely advance towards the foe.  "Vive l'empereur!!!"
After a long march through the heat and torpor of the Spanish summer, the French are slow to respond.  The Fifth find themselves unsupported while the remainder of the column tries to shake itself out into some kind of order while the officers frantically try to assess the situation.  The Fifth tardily form line, but another nasty surprise is in store as to their right flank the British 30th Foot appears over the crest of a hill! 
The only saving grace is that in their advance, they prevent the Russian licorne from firing.  But the situation is bad enough.
Taking fire from two sides, the casualties mount up.  (But the regiment passes its first break test). 

The rest of the column tries to shake itself into some kind of order, but in their excitement and confusion, the men are slow to respond.
The 17e de ligne hurry forwards, attempting to form attack column and to support the hard-pressed Fifth (but are slowed by an annoying inability of the French command to roll for more than one action at best...).

The 17e, de ligne, still in column of route in order to make at least some progress towards the enemy (in Black Powder, units in column of route get at least one action, even if they fail their command roll.  And the French were not having much luck with the dice today!)

But then, out of the woods on their right, men fall all around them as well-aimed shot tears into their flanks.  It's the dreaded 95th Rifles, who surged forward and speedily ran into the woods, to promptly pour a devastating volley into the flanks of the hapless French.
Simultaneously, the battered 5e légère, after having taken numerous casualties from two infantry units and the Russian licorne, finally collapse under the pressure and flee to the rear.  The odds are getting better for the British.
The 17e are able to disengage from the rifles on their flank, and pass a crucial command roll.  They are able to move off towards the left, and the French artillery move with them at the gallop, to set up their gun on a hill overlooking the allied position.
 A volley into the woods causes the 95th to fall back, but casualties are minimal.
The situation appears to be improving for the French, but it remains very much touch and go.  Rod and Giovanni consult on their next moves, while Frank, visiting from a miniature painting club here in Tokyo, looks on.
The French artillery unlimber and prepare to fire.  Love Sada's gun & limber model!
The caisson lid can be opened.  The visual effect is superb, and it drew a lot of admiration from the other players and from onlookers throughout the afternoon.  It really added a lot to the game! 
The French deploy into firing line, but are already taking hits from the Russian artillery.  That Russian licorne has earned a fearsome reputation for accuracy on the battlefield over the last year, and this game was to be no exception.
The 30th Foot begin and advance towards the French line, taking the opportunity to shoot at the artillery along the way. 
The 30th then pour a volley into the 17e at close range.  Four hits, but the regiment passes its break test.
 However, a second volley has them retire back in disorder...
...while the licorne also succeeds in disordering the exposed French artillery.  It fails its subsequent break test; the crew quickly limber up and ignominiously head to the rear.
"Run awaaaaay!"
Gen. de Sade, his command reduced to a mere one battalion, makes good use of the "follow me" order, and rallies the shaken 17e de ligne.  They regain both their composure and their courage, and once more enter the fray. "Vive la France!" 

Meanwhile the rest of the French column finally finds itself engaged.  The  1/28e légère forms attack column, and sends its skirmishers to clear the riflemen in the woods, while a section of 6pdr. guns and the lancers move to the flank in support.
The voltigeurs take on the tenacious riflemen, and with the support of a couple of well-time shots from the 6pdr, make the woods too hot a place for them to hang around in.
Back to the trials and tribulations of the 17e.  They close again with the 30th Foot, and in a sharp exchange of fire...
The 30th Foot is broken!  The French rejoice in their first real success of the game. The British are now reduced to the 44th East Essex Regiment and the licorne, as the 95th have been seen off by more artillery fire.  Could this be the turning point?
Before the 17e had had time to catch their breath, the 44th fell upon them.  This time the gallant Frenchmen, having had passed numerous break test in the face of all odds, had finally had enough, and melted away like snow on a hot stove.
"Sauve qui peut!"
Emboldened by their success, and by the inability of the French to throw anything near a decent command roll, the English commander issued a "Follow Me!" order, and promptly found himself rewarded with three actions.   He hurled himself against the 28e légère. 
This unfortunate regiment had suffered a command blunder (the only one of the game), and had fallen back towards the edge of the table.  They managed to survive a volley of the 44th, but on attempting to counter-charge suffered devastating closing fire.  They failed their break point roll miserably, and were sent packing.

And then there were none... almost!
In an insane act of bravado the English, again under the "Follow Me" order, promptly wheeled and advanced to close range of the French lancers.  They failed to inflict any hits, but were able to form square to meet the inevitable French counter-charge.
At this point the French called it a day.  Cavalry unsupported by infantry or guns are helpless against squares, and with the artillery too far away to support the cavalry before they would be whittled away by enemy musketry, it was apparent the day was lost.

A credible performance and well-earned victory on the part of the Allies.  The French could take comfort in the tenacious performance of Gen. de Sade's command, especially that of the 17e de ligne, who managed to survive numerous break point rolls before finally succumbing to the inevitable.

Another great game, and given the small number of forces it lasted a lot longer than we expected it would given the size of the forces involved.

Looking forward to February 27th, our next gaming day.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Game days on the way.

Hi All,

I just thought I would make an update to remind people of the upcoming game days and what is going to be available.

The dates are:
  • 21st of January (Saturday) 7th floor of the OPA building.
  • 26th of February (Sunday) 7th floor of the OPA building.
So far for the 27th there have been rumors of:
  • Labyrinth Lord Role Play Game (aka Old School D&D)
  • Black Powder Napoleonic game in 28mm scale (keep an eye on this one, it is growing and becoming the eye candy game of the club)
  • Blitzkrieg Commander (BKC II)  World War 2 in 20mm scale
Various boardgames - including probably ASL - and a probable club mass Wings of War game -

None have been confirmed yet, since we are a loose club where you basically join what you like on the day, but  if you wish to take part in a game, please let us know to avoid disappointment.

If you already have any ideas for the 26th great! let us know.